The MacGregor Legacy - For Love or Loyalty

1760 Scotland - To atone for her father's evil, Lauren Campbell agrees to help Malcolm MacGregor. By the time she realizes she's the bargaining price to free Malcolm's mother from indentured servitude, it's too late.

Path of Freedom, Quilts of Love series

1858 North Carolina - When Quakers Flora Saferight and Bruce Millikan embark on the Underground Railroad, they agree to put their differences aside to save the lives of a pregnant slave couple..

Highland Sanctuary, (Highland series - Book 2)

1477 Scotland - A chieftain heir is hired to restore Briagh Castle and discovers a hidden village of outcasts who have created their own private sanctuary from the world.

Highland Blessings, (Book 1 - Highland series)

1473 Scotland - The story of a highland warrior who kidnaps the daughter of his greatest enemy and clan chief to honor a promise to his dying father.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Promised Blessings Sold!

I had a historical post planned for today, but my news is too good not to share. Yesterday I received the news that my Scottish Medieval manuscript, Promised Blessings, sold to Abingdon Press! God gave me a wonderful birthday gift.

I've blogged about the awesome experience on
F.A.I.T.H., including how my manuscript almost didn't make it several years ago. God is so faithful!



Monday, October 27, 2008

Defining What You Write

It isn't enough to say, "I write historical fiction." 


A statement like that immediately invokes all kinds of other questions. 


"What time period is it set?" 


"Do you mean historical romances?" 


"Like westerns?" 


Then I can clarify, "well…..my books are more like Christian fiction historical romances." But that still doesn't clarify a time period or a setting. So if you're a writer like me who has written an Irish historical, an English Regency, a Scottish Medieval, a South Carolina historical, a Missouri historical, and a contemporary—what's a writer to say? 


It would be helpful to narrow it down to a sentence, or better yet, a tagline. You can work on building an author brand around your tagline. This will help with marketing by word of mouth, fitting a short description in tight spaces for postcards, bookmarks, and blog and website ads. Also, it will give you an identity as an author. People need to feel like they "know" you. 


Obscurity does not sell. 


Confidence sells. Boldness sells. 


Niche sells even better. 


But how do you do that? How do you narrow down what you write when it covers a broad time period and various places? If you're like me, you don't want to narrow yourself into a tight little box. Creativity hates to be stifled, and writers are by nature, creative individuals. Follow with me through the process of defining what I write. 


Start with a Sub-Genre
What do you write the most? With six historicals and one contemporary, I'd be classified as a historical writer more so than contemporary. My future plans include several more historicals, but only a few contemporaries. What we've written and what we plan to write will establish our author identity. 


I write historical fiction. 


Choose a Theme or Element
All of my books include elements of faith and romance, but to me the faith is the more important element. In some of my books the romance is more than 50% of the plot and in other books the romance is less than 50% of the plot. Therefore, if I need to eliminate this word, I can.

What about you? What are the themed elements included in all your books? 


I write Christian fiction historical romance. 


Establish Time Period
My earliest book is set in Medieval times and I know I have no desire to write in an earlier time period such as in Biblical times., Here I can set a beginning boundary. My latest historical is set in Victorian times, but I have a planned novel that I know will be set during the late 1920's. Also, the time period of the 1940's and WWII appeal to me so I would be better off setting my ending time period at WWII. 


I write Christian fiction historical romance from Medieval to WWII. 


Establish Setting
So far, my American books are set in Missouri and South Carolina, even my Missouri characters are from North Carolina, so both have the Carolina theme. This will narrow down my American setting from 52 states to a couple of states. It will also give my characters the ability to roam from the Carolinas to other places. At least one main character must be from a Carolina state to fit in with the Carolina theme. 


I also have books set in Ireland, Scotland, and England. None of the characters in these books are Carolinians, but couldn't they emigrate to the Carolinas to bridge the theme? While my written stories are not immigration stories, I could tie in the Carolina theme by writing immigration stories in the future. All of these countries are based in Europe so this gives me a broad, but distinct setting.


I write Christian fiction historical romance set in Europe and the Carolinas ranging from Medievals to WWII. 


Now that I have it down to a sentence, I can edit the wording. The time period already indicates historical, so that word can be deleted. I want to emphasize an open door to contemporaries depending on which way the market swings and what I have on my heart to write. Therefore, I'm going to substitute WWII for contemporary. To cut the length I also delete romance.


I write Medieval to contemporary Christian fiction set in Europe and the Carolinas. 


And there you have it. A short, but precise description of what I write. If you are a writer, try this process out for yourelf to define what you write. What you end up with doesn't have to be your tagline, but if it's witty enough, it might serve as a tagline as well.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Is Christian Fiction--Truth?

Whenever someone discovers I’m a writer, the next question that pops out is “What do you write?”

Sometimes I give a broad term like “Christian fiction” just to see what their reaction might be. Will they be turned off by the Christian part of my answer? Will they want to know more? Usually, I can see the wheels turning in their head as if they are processing that piece of information and they are hesitant to respond.

Believe it or not, there are still some narrow minded people who think that it isn’t possible to write Christian Fiction because the Christian faith is based upon truth and to their way of thinking—truth is the only thing Christians should write.

Right?

Wrong.

In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Jesus teaches through parables. These parables are used as scripture to teach us today. What is a parable?

The fourth edition of the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language describes a parable as: A simple story to illustrate a moral or religious lesson.

In the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, a parable is: A usually short fictitious story that illustrates a moral attitude or a religious attitude.

Therefore, Christian fiction is like a parable. The difference is it isn’t short or brief. It is a long parable in the form of a novel. The reader gets to know the characters, experiences their emotion, and throughout the novel there are moral and spiritual values and lessons based on biblical teachings in Christianity.

While the characters in my Christian fiction are not real and the plot is fictitious, the biblical and spiritual lesson is one of truth. Even if the reader doesn’t realize they are learning a biblical lesson, I have faith that God is using my work to plant a seed inside that person. And God will choose when to water and harvest that seed to bring forth fruit and life to that individual.

“So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.”
I Corinthians 3:7

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

CFBA Book Review - "Less Than Dead"


CFBA - Less Than Dead by Tim Downs

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing
Less Than Dead

Thomas Nelson (September 9, 2008)
by
Tim Downs


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tim Downs is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Indiana University. After graduation in 1976 he created a comic strip, Downstown, which was syndicated by Universal Press Syndicate until 1986. His cartooning has appeared in more than a hundred major newspapers worldwide.His first book, a work of non-fiction, was awarded the Gold Medallion Award in 2000.

His first novel, Shoofly Pie, was awarded the Angel Award in 2004, and his third novel, PlagueMaker, was awarded the Christy Award for best suspense novel of 2007. First The Dead, the third book in this Bug Man series came out earlier this year.

Tim lives in Cary, North Carolina, with his wife Joy.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Some secrets just won't stay buried.

When strange bones surface on a U.S. senator's property, the FBI enlists forensic entomologist Nick Polchak to investigate the forgotten graveyard. Polchak's orders are simple: figure out the mess.

But Polchak, known as the "Bug Man" because of his knowledge of insects and their interaction with the dead, senses darker secrets buried beneath the soil.

Secrets that could derail the senator's presidential bid.

Secrets buried in the history of a quaint Virginia town.

Secrets someone is willing to kill to protect.

With the help of a mysterious local woman named Alena and her uncanny cadaver dogs, Polchak sets out to dig up the truth.But with a desperate killer hot on his trail, he'll be lucky to wind up anything less than dead.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Less Than Dead, go HERE.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Reporting on ACFW 2008 Conference

As promised, I'm providing links to the October issue of Affictionado, the ACFW ezine now that it is available. I reported on two workshops from the conference. My assignments were The Power of Pre-Writing and Launch Your Career with Barbour Publishing.

Be sure to check it out as over 30 authors reported on the workshops they attended. If you are a writer and were not able to attend, or couldn't make it to all the workshops you wanted, then check it out and glean some great writing tips, industry advice, recent trends in the CBA market and more.

I'm finally coming up for air now that my Regency is off to publishers. I've been deep in revisions over the last four weeks. I'm going to take a short break over the next few days and refresh my energy and strength. (That means catch up on some much needed sleep!) Then I'll dive into some suggested revisions from another editor on my contemporary. As always, I'll be praying for some good news on my submissions.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Book Review - "The Rogue's Redemption"



By Ruth Axtel Morren
To date it has been hard to find Regency books in the CBA market, but I'm delighted to say that this is starting to change.

Ruth Axtell Morren has written a wonderful Christian Regency romance that is flavored with the time period and sensory details that will have you experiencing a delightful taste of England. When reading this book you will feel the emotional impact of one man's change of heart from the rogue he was to a new creation in Christ who loves the heroine with a passion and a new restraint.

Morren has captured the dialogue of the period, created 3-dimensional characters with flaws and strengths that make you root for them in their goals, and layers enough conflict in the story that makes you wonder how they will be brought together in the end. It's a great and wonderful read that I would recommend to anyone who loves historical Christian romance.

Book Description

He was tall and dark with eyes as blue as cobalt. In a glittering London ballroom Miss Hester Leighton was interested in him more than anyone she'd met since coming to town. A woman of deep faith, Hester knew she should not keep company with Major Gerrit Hawkes, a jaded, penniless soldier haunted by nightmares of war. But their connection would not be denied.

Hester was the only woman who'd ever made Gerrit feel truly worthy of love, and he would not lose her. Separated from her by her father--and an ocean--Gerrit must decide whether he will risk his life and his soul to earn a home in Hester's arms forever.

To learn more about Ruth Axtel Morren and her books, visit her website, http://www.ruthaxtelmorren.com/.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Writing in the Regency Era - Online Resources

I confess, I’ve written a Regency historical novel. And upon my word, I am quite determined to master this era!

What is the Regency Era?
The specific Regency period is considered to be a short time frame between 1811 – 1820, in the United Kingdom when King George III was deemed unfit to rule and his son was instated to be his proxy as Prince Regent. However, many consider the era to be much larger between 1795 – 1837, especially if one considers the Regency Era a transitional period between the Georgian and Victorian eras.

The Rules
There are many strict societal rules that one’s character must know, maintain and behave accordingly. If one’s character behaves inappropriately for the era, that character must have a well-established motivation. The Regency fashion, dialogue, and customs govern the structure of a Regency novel. Therefore, much research and knowledge must go into writing one.

Online Regency Resources
I wanted to share a few online resources that I have found very helpful in writing my Regency. I’ve included the title of the website or webpage, the link, and a brief description.

Please note: I cannot vouch for the accuracy of every detail on these websites. Please make sure you find at least three resources to back up a reference and use your own judgment.

An Olde Fashioned Christmas Eve - http://www.xmission.com/~tssphoto/vt/xmas5/index.html - Christmas images that have been scanned from documents printed over beyond the copyright date. Some are Victorian and others are older close to the Regency era.

Christian Regency - http://www.christianregency.com - Several links to Regency information on various topics. 


Jane Austen Todayhttp://janitesonthejames.blogspot.com/ - A blog that explores Regency period author, Jane Austen, as we see her today in movies, prints, sequels, websites and other modern media.

Jane Austen’s World
http://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com/ - A blog that strives to bring to life Jane Austen’s novels and the Regency Period through food, dress, social customs, and other 19th century historical details.

The Beau Monde
http://www.thebeaumonde.com/ - A writing group for writers who write Regencies. One must be a member of Romance Writers of America, since this is an RWA chapter.

Susanna Carlton, Regency Author
http://www.susannahcarleton.com/regency.html - A great resource that describes what the Regency era is, the difference between Regency romances and Regency-set historical romances, and other basic info.

Eras of Elegance
http://www.erasofelegance.com/entertainment/regencymovies.html - A list of movies that are available with settings in the Regency era.

Fashions in Time
http://www.fashionsintime.com/html/regency.html - Lady’s costume fashions in the Regency era.

Good Ton -
http://www.thenonesuch.com/index.htm - A resource for readers of a Regency romance novel.

Hampshire Regency Dancers - http://hampshireregencydancers.org.uk/Videos.php - A group who practices Regency dancing in period costumes and provides such dances for movies and even in the home where Jane Austen's brother lived.

Nancy Mayer, Regency Researcher - http://www.susannaives.com/nancyregencyresearcher - Links and resources from a Regency author who has been researching the period for a number of years.

Old Book Art - http://www.oldbookart.com - Historical images that are now out of copyright and in the public domain.

Prints Old & Rare - Fox Hunting - http://www.printsoldandrare.com/foxhunting - Historical prints and images of fox hunting scenes.

The Regency Collection
http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~awoodley/Regency.html - Links recommended books.

Regency England (1790-1830)
http://hibiscus-sinensis.com/regency/index.htm - Includes info on weddings, fashion, shopping, and Regency romance novels.

The Regency Fashion Page
http://locutus.ucr.edu/~cathy/reg3.html - Includes photos and images of fashion plates.

The Regency Page
http://locutus.ucr.edu/~cathy/reg.html - This is an excellent resource for all things Regency.

Regency Reader's Site Page - http://www.geocities.com/toniaizu/k53.html - Resource links.


Regency Referenceshttp://www.elegantarts.org/regencyrefs.html - More information on the English Regency and more dancing.

Regency Reproductions
http://www.regencyreproductions.com/movies.htm - Costume reproductions for men, women and children in the extended Regency period (1795 – 1837).

Regency Yuletide - http://regencyyuletide.blogspot.com - The Definitive Guide to Christmas in Regency England with quotes, recipes, and games to reveal what Christmas was like during the time of Jane Austen. Remember the "holy" in holiday, and let poets and songwriters from the past enliven your experience today. 

Vanessa Riley's Christian Regency - http://www.christianregency.com - An online writing resource of all things Regency related. A great site you'll want to check out. 

Friday, October 03, 2008

Blog Subscriber Widget

I've recently added a Subscriber Widget to my sidebar on the right. If you enjoy learning about the craft of writing, discussing history at its finest, and unique places in the Carolinas, author interviews, book reviews and giveaways--please consider joining my blog as a follower.

You'll receive a notice whenever I post something new and that way you won't have to "remember" to come back to my site to see if I've recently updated it with new content. I'd love to hear from you and have the chance to discuss interesting topics and interact.